State of the States
Governor Targets Teacher Shortage
• Gov. Linda Lingle, R
Gov. Linda Lingle began the final year of her first term with a multipronged agenda for addressing Hawaii’s teacher shortage, school facility needs, and other challenges facing precollegiate education.
Finance: The Republican governor urged lawmakers to share a portion of the projected fiscal 2006 revenue surplus of $574 million with K-12 schools. She proposed raising the state’s fiscal 2007 education spending by $133 million above the current general-fund education budget of $1.7 billion. That increase would include $90 million in new funds for school construction, repairs, and maintenance.
“Besides the need for a robust repair and maintenance program and new school construction, the [department of education] is facing a severe teacher shortage,” she said.
Teachers: To help address the shortage, Gov. Lingle wants to allow retired teachers to be hired for hard-to-fill classroom jobs for 24 months without losing retirement benefits. She also wants to pay an annual bonus of $10,000 to nationally certified teachers who teach in an underperforming school for three years.
Her plan includes a new emergency certification that would allow those who hold a bachelor’s degree or higher to teach in their degree area as long as they complete the substitute-teacher training program or a similar course.
Charter Schools: Turning to school choice, Gov. Lingle said Hawaii should give charter schools their own district “so they are able to receive funds directly from the federal government.”
Vol. 25, Issue 21, Page 22